Emirates has become the world’s first airline to offer free Covid-19 insurance as it tries to get people flying again.

Passengers will be covered for medical treatment, hotel quarantine, and even their funeral if they catch the virus and die while travelling.

‘We know people are yearning to fly as borders around the world gradually re-open, but they are seeking flexibility and assurances should something unforeseen happen during their travel,’ Emirates Group Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement.

The offer is valid for 31 days from the start of a passenger’s journey and will run from now until the end of October.

It means that if a passenger is diagnosed with coronavirus during their trip, their medical expenses will be covered up to around £135,000. If a lockdown is imposed and a passenger has to self-isolate in a foreign town or city, the airline will pay up to €100 (£90) per day for quarantine costs — such as a hotel room — for up to two weeks.

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The Middle East carrier has also said it will contribute €1,500 (about £1350) towards a funeral if passengers are diagnosed with the virus and then pass away after flying Emirates.

The company hopes the outlandish promotion will restore people’s confidence about getting back on a plane as the travel industry tries to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Air travel has slumped this year after countries shut their borders to contain the virus. Though many have now reopened, people remain concerned about potentially becoming infected on flights or while travelling and having to quarantine on return.

Experts have warned demand for air travel is unlikely to return to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels until 2023, while the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that 2020 will go down as the ‘worst’ on record financially.

The collapse in demand has already forced carriers around the world to cut flights and layoff or furlough tens of thousands of workers.

Last month Emirates said it is set to cut as many as 9,000 jobs because of the pandemic.

Virgin Atlantic has already axed a third of jobs and warned today that it could run out of money by the end of September if a £1.2 billion bailout package is not approved.

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